COVID-19 and Immigration Rights in New Zealand

With everything that is going on in the world amongst the COVID-19 outbreak and crisis, it is easy to focus on our personal needs. However, during this time it is essential that we ensure the safety and well being of the most vulnerable. This includes minority communities, the homeless, and immigrants. As previously discussed, New Zealand has controversial immigration policies, so for my final blog post I wanted to examine how they are addressing the needs of these people during this time. According to their official immigration website, the government has decided to postpone a number of VISA programs. They explain that this is intended to be a temporary measure as they are aiming to “avoid potential public health risks that would result if we encouraged travel by individuals while New Zealand is at a heightened COVID-19 alert level”. Currently their Refugee Unit is closed until further notice; all interviews are canceled and document processing is on hold. 

Reading this information is extremely frustrating, especially from a justice standpoint. Justice is human-centered and interpreted from the most vulnerable. Especially during a time of crisis, to ensure that the needs of a population are met, it is essential to help these people. Given the already lagging politics of immigration policy in Australia and New Zealand, this outbreak is an opportunity to redefine many of the injustices these minority groups have been subjected to. As the rest of the world begins to understand and heal from this crisis, I hope that we can address what was illuminated during this time. 


“Migrant and Refugee Information.” Immigration New Zealand,

  4 comments for “COVID-19 and Immigration Rights in New Zealand

  1. dhs2ea
    April 20, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    I wrote my last post about a similar topic in Germany. They have been particularly hard by COVID-19 but they have had one of the best and most effective responses of any European countries. They are even taking in some patients from Italy because they prepared so many ICU beds. At the same time there’s a log jam of migrants in camps trying to enter Europe and no country wants to take them. This isn’t exactly a new problem but COVID-19 is certainly making it worse, and I suspect that the long term effects of COVID-19 on refugee and migrant camps could be disastrous if action isn’t taken sooner rather than later.

  2. jpw4qj
    April 22, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    This also reminds me of today’s lecture and Hamid’s thoughts on borders. I agree with you and also think that statement is very disappointing. I wish that this terrible virus could bring people together and reveal how we are all human, but news like this saddens me and shows the nationalistic ideals that many countries hold.

  3. lom5be
    April 25, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I think your comment on the opportunities to “redefine” injustice in the COVID-19 crisis is insightful and important. In a lot of nations there are policies that have seemed to either disintegrate under the weight of the virus or the opposite, the policies seem to be fortified in our fear. As someone who spent this semester’s blogs exploring the Coronavirus, I find the extent to which it has impacted unusual aspects of life fascinating. I wonder, when this is all over, if you will be correct, and a lot of positive change will be made in parallel with the “new normal.”

  4. rac8aj
    April 27, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    I think it is so important to recognize these groups right now. Not only are they facing harsh injustices, but they are being further amplified by the COVID-19 crisis. What’s fascinating to me is the varying responses of countries to their homeless populations when compared to their refugee populations. While these people obviously require documentation and assistance that might not be achievable during a pandemic, it is truly mindblowing that they have can be so thoroughly neglected. As someone mentioned above, many other highly developed countries around the world face a similar issue with the large influx of refugees at this time. While we are already aware of how far behind some of these countries are lagging, it appears that the long term damage may be far worse. The lives of these refugees will undoubtedly worsen more, and given the lack of treatment and testing that they are receiving, I would guess that the negligence shown by the governments will ultimately cause the COVID crisis to be drawn out for a much longer period of time. It seems appropriate that you would point out the injustice of this all. It occurred to me as I was writing this, that many migrants will likely be allowed to die, simply to ease the burden on affected countries. While a call to action should ultimately have multiple provisions, it seems that it should also address how future situations like this one will be humanely dealt with.

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